Jay March2011

Jay Frucci, President and Owner,
Furniture Consignment Gallery

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Dad - We Have a Problem

 

 

"disappointed cowboyDad," Robbie pulled me aside and confided in a low, somber tone. "We have a problem."

 

Earlier, he had spied some wrapped presents tucked under the tree. The half-hidden stash was an irresistible lure for a six-year-old boy. With only twelve more shopping days left until Christmas, he knew he had to schedule some urgent reconnaissance.

 

This was a job that required absolute secrecy without any interference from his two older brothers or, even worse, Mom. His mission: to determine whether he'd get his fair share of loot for Christmas.

 

First, he made sure the rest of the family was busy - and not in the living room. Then, he crawled under the tree. Once he reached the target, he weighed and measured the presents from every angle. He undertook his inspection with the precision of a diamond dealer. He probably used a loupe.

 

The data, once analyzed, confirmed his worst fears. He had one present under the tree. His brothers each had three. So he filed a grievance: "It's not fair." But, he assured me diplomatically, we still had time to fix the situation.

 

When it comes to Christmas, I'm convinced that every kid on the planet is born with an internal abacus. When they're young, they're thrilled just to unwrap a box. Soon, they start keeping count of the gifts. Every child has to have precisely the same number as his or her siblings - or you're risking a riot.

 

When they're teenagers, they develop a sophisticated sense of value and style that shifts daily, which creates a gift-giving nightmare. Two parkas, both equally warm. North Face or L.L. Bean? Take it from me, one of those is going to be a big mistake. Tears will ensue. We're not quite there yet at our house but I dread the day.  

 

Admit it. All of us have a little kid inside secretly checking out everyone else's gifts. So if you're racing around trying to even out the ratio, you'll find help at FCG.

 

Yesterday, a harried shopper dashed into our showroom in Hanover. "Something for my daughter," he gasped. "All out of ideas!" Minutes later, he tore out of the store with a generous gift card, his arms raised in triumph. "I'm done!" he roared happily. "Done, done, done!"

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Tree Wars II

 

 

"So who is winning our littledescribe the image competition?" Brad asked with feigned nonchalance. Brad is the manager of our store in Plymouth. And the little competition is nothing less than FCG's design Super Bowl.

 

In other words, it's our annual Christmas tree decorating contest. 

 

Each of our three stores is given a tree, a small budget for ornaments and a deadline. Trees must be fully decorated by Dec. 1. Then you - our customers - get to vote on the best of the three trees online or in person at the store.

 

The prize? Technically, a catered lunch for the staff that created the winning tree. But, in reality, the winners have bragging rights for a year. Considering the competitors, that's no small matter.

Our contest pits Brad, a maestro of design, and his staff against his identical twin brother, Ron, and the staff of our store in Hanover. Ron is manager of that store and an equally gifted design genius. And he's got a score to settle: his brother's team won last year.

 

Our third combatant - oops, I mean contestant - is Donna, formerly Brad's protégé and now manager of our store in Chestnut Hill.

 

Like any war, this one has secret battle plans and spies. Ron recently invited his staff to his home to work on their tree. Outside, the wind was whipping the last of the autumn leaves off the trees. Inside, the group was busy baking gingerbread men and making candy.

 

Suddenly, someone noticed a face pressed against the rain-slick window: Brad, on a spy's mission. Luckily, he escaped without bloodshed.

 

Each of our showrooms boasts a spectacularly decorated tree this year. In Hanover, the Gum Drop Tree is studded with delectable treats: gooey chocolate balls, candy ribbon and an army of marshmallow men. In Plymouth, the Nutcracker Tree celebrates the beloved ballet with ornaments celebrating its colorful characters hidden in the boughs.  

 

In Chestnut Hill, Donna and her team created a tree that celebrates the beauty of this snowy season in silver, white and teal.

 

'Tis the season to be merry. Around here, we try to remember that the contest is just a friendly little competition. So, as they say in Chicago, vote early - and often - for your favorite tree. All I ask is that you say a prayer for me when it comes time to announce the winner.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Take A Holiday from Wishes

 

 

So maybe my timing wasn't perfect ....

While undertaking the sixteen-hour drive over the river and through the woods to my in-laws in Kentucky, I listened to a radio talk show. According to the enthusiastic host, Thanksgiving was the perfect time to discuss end-of-life issues with older relatives. wpc5acd0bf

In other words, white meat or dark? Burial or cremation? Pass the carrots, please. And, speaking of vegetables, when do you want us to pull the plug?

So after we finished our family feast, I thought I'd broach some of those topics with my in-laws. "Have you two created a will?" I asked. "Who's the executor?"

"Glad you asked!" Papa responded with great zeal. An Army veteran who did two voluntary tours in Vietnam, he wasn't a man to approach anything without a battle plan. "We've got good long-term care insurance in place," he said. "And we've taken care of the will." Diana, my wife, would be the executor.

He paused then for a moment and nodded his head slowly. We all leaned in a little closer. "I've given a lot of thought to this," he said thoughtfully. "And I'd like my ashes to be spread all over Nancy."

His wife's name is Becky.

In the uproar that followed that disclosure, he quickly explained. Nancy, Kentucky is the home of the Mill Springs National Cemetery, one of the oldest national cemeteries in the U.S. Established during the Civil War, some 4,000 veterans are buried there.

Well, the conversational floodgates opened - probably out of relief. Suddenly, everyone at the table had an outrageous death wish.

"I want to be shot out of a cannon," my mother-in-law announced. She wasn't about to be upstaged in the department of grand theatrical exits. I looked over at Diana. She was starting to look a little panicky. How would she find a functioning cannon in Kentucky?

Maybe some topics are better left alone at Thanksgiving. And probably Christmas. I've learned from this experience. So my advice would be to steer the conversation to more uplifting subjects. "Gosh, Mom, your dining table is so beautiful. I bet when the time comes we could get good money for it at Furniture Consignment Gallery."

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Collision Course

 

 

Thanksgiving didn't really begin until my grandfather's tan Oldsmobile rumbled into the driveway. My mom would send us three boys out to help my grandparents unload the car. Inside the trunk was enough food to feed an army - and my grandmother was a tiny Italian General Patton. "Pick that up from the bottom - it's heavy," she would bark at my brother. "Careful!" she would scold. "That's hot!"thanksgiving dinner clip art 2

 

This was her battle station - and it smelled like a five-course banquet. There were pepper biscuits, stuffed mushrooms, fried artichokes, sticky buns, and, of course, boxes and boxes of fragrant cookies. The starter dish, however, would be Italian wedding soup with homemade meatballs followed by a lasagna to mangia on before they carved the bird. Grandma was determined to march inside, take control of the kitchen and hijack the meal. It worked for me!

 

My poor mom, on the other hand, had been up cooking her own special dishes since 4 a.m. - but she knew she wouldn't win against this culinary tyrant. She graciously accepted all the goodies. She took a breath and counted to ten and conceded her kitchen. Her food got pushed into the warming oven, but my mom endured the insult with grace and dignity.

 

Looking back today, my mom is happy she didn't make a battleground out of Thanksgiving. She embraced the parade of food, somehow knowing that her mother-in-law was a kitchen bully but everyone would appreciate her special skill for cooking.

 

I learned a lot from my mom about Thanksgiving. It isn't about the perfect meal. It's about an imperfect family gathering around a table to make perfect memories.

 

So, brace yourself for those moments when we will have to take a breath and count to ten next week. The smallest child sitting at the kids table might take notice of the give and take that is required to make a complex family work.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Take Ten And Take it Now

 

 

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Admit it. You're harboring a secret fantasy. The whole family is gathered around your table this Thanksgiving, sipping wine and feasting on turkey while you bask in their appreciation. Problem is, you don't have a table.

If you ordered a dining room set today from Baker or Ethan Allen, you'll get it in time for ... Easter. That's right. Twelve to 16 weeks is the standard waiting time for a set from a quality manufacturer. Customize your order and you won't get it until Memorial Day. Of course, you'll be sitting alone at your new table because by then everyone also will be gathered around the grill on the patio.

Ordering a new custom dining set might just be one of the worst investments you can make in terms of time and money. First, you write that big check with all the zeros, then you put your entertaining plans on hold for months. After your order goes in, the manufacturer has to wander around the forest figuring out which tree to cut. Then, the wood has to dry...

On the other hand, buying a gently used table at our store is one of the best decisions you can make. For one, you'll save thousands of dollars. In fact, we're offering an extra 10% off this weekend to show our gratitude for your business.

Choices? We have 80 tables in stock - and more arriving every day. We have six Bakers, including an extra-long custom one. We have a Guy Chaddock if you prefer something less formal. Or for those who want handmade, we have a solid cherry Shaker-style Thomas Mosier and a gorgeous cherry trestle table made by Great Meadows Joinery with ten hand made ladder back chairs.

Best of all, you can have your table now. Now means we can help you load it in your SUV, or we can deliver it right to your dining room with time to spare before Turkey Day. Now means you'll hear "Pass the cranberry sauce" at your home on Nov. 27, 2014.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

This Blog Could Put You To Sleep

 

 

 In our three stores, we have always found space to experiment with products. Our customers count on us for not only for quality furniture - they also know they can also complete their design projects with stylish new accessories including decorative pillows and nautical prints. 

 

This month, we're taking that concept one step further. We're opening a new mattress center in our store in Plymouth, featuring mattresses made by Gold Bond.

 

FCG sells a lot of bedroom sets. Our customers love how we display our furniture with beautiful bedding, lamps and other accessories. While we've always carried a small selection of mattresses, we recently realized that our customers want more choices. That's what they'll get in our new mattress center.

 

We decided to feature exclusively mattresses made by Gold Bond, a fourth-generation company in Hartford, CT. Like FCG, Gold Bond is family-owned. We share the same values of quality and service. And its mattresses are made right here in New England. Gold Bond buys its cotton in Mississippi and Louisiana and manufactures the mattresses in a factory in Hartford.

 

Order a mattress from us on a Friday and Gold Bond will ship it within a week. Their attention to detail and comfort is second to none. All their mattresses are two-sided - including the pillow tops. That's a feature no one else in the industry offers.

 

Why are we dedicating the space to a mattress center? Until now, we had a limited variety on the floor and customers didn't have the opportunity to comfortably test mattresses. Plymouth's new center will allow you to stretch out and relax. And we will be offering a wide variety of mattresses including organics, hybrids, pillow-tops, firms, latex, gel and memory foam.

 

This means greater convenience for you. Now, when you purchase a bed or a bedroom set in any of our locations, you can select a mattress, too. We'll deliver and set it up for you all at the same time.

Best of all, you won't find any brassy sales people dogging you at every step. You won't get bullied with a big sales pitch. And no confusing ads. What you will get is the same respectful and helpful customer service you've always enjoyed at FCG. We promise.
Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

A Fresh Approach

 

 

1009I did some retail recon last week, visiting three small furniture stores around Boston. My goal was to assess the market: pricing, inventory, presentation and customer service. The experience was depressing.

All three stores seem to have barely survived the downturn of 2008. A telltale sign: one dispirited salesperson per store. I wandered around without an offer of assistance - or even a flicker of interest. Some showrooms were dark and uninviting. If I worked up the courage to enter one of those caves, a motion sensor would turn on the lights - grudgingly, it seemed to me.

 

Walls were bare. Here and there, I saw some pastel prints with thin gold frames, relics of the 1980s. The lamps were old and dusty. Clearly, it had been decades since these merchants had stocked up on accessories.

 

I hurried back to Hanover. Suddenly, I felt newly grateful for the good luck and hard work that enabled us to survive a downturn that had weakened or wiped out so many in our business.

 

Inside FCG, shoppers strolled the brightly lit showrooms. Our sales associates were briskly helping people find the special items they were seeking. Our showroom is alive, I thought, and filled with up-to-date furniture and stylish accent pieces.

 

Today is the first of November, a good time to remember to be grateful for blessings big and small. Furniture Consignment Gallery not only survived the downturn of 2008, but we continue to spread our wings. Next week, we will open our mattress department in our Plymouth showroom where we will have several new Gold Bond mattresses on display. We have something special going on in our three showrooms, Hanover, Plymouth and Chestnut Hill, and it is the staffers who make the retail magic happen here every day.

 

We do our best to keep it fresh with quality furniture and up-to-date accessories in our showrooms. And all that merchandise also happens to be the best bargains you'll find in or around Boston.
Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

How-to: Consignor Log-in

 

 

Our newest feature "Consignor Log-in" is exciting to us because it will allow us to give our customers and consignors the opportunity to view their consigned items and previous in-store purchases in real-time on the internet and the App. Here are instructions on how to get started!

How to Get Started

Step 1.
The first step is making sure you're in our system with the correct email, if at all. To update this information you can either call one of our 3 stores, do it in person in one of our three stores or fill out the form at the bottom of this page to be updated. Filling out the form will put your information in our digital que to be placed in by one of our staff. Please allow 24-48 hrs if you choose to do it this way.
consignorlogin 0

Step 2.
Once you are entered into our system here you will receive an email like this:

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Once you have received this email above it means one of our staff members have manually entered you into our system by updating your account with us. This email can take a couple hours to arrive after we have entered you depending on your device, email service or wifi speed. Please note that depending on your email provider this email may go to your SPAM folder. If you can't find it, go to your SPAM and look for "Consignor Login Information"

Step 3.
Go to our Front Page and click the "Consignor Log-in" button

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Step 4.
After reading this entire page you can click on this button:

consignorlogin 3

Step 5.

This will take you to our log-in page. The design may be updated in the future, but for the moment this is what it looks like. Enter your entire email in BOTH fields, Username and password. Do NOT use captial letters of any kind. Email address are not captial letter sensitive but username and passwords boxes ARE so if it doesn't match our system it won't work.
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Step 6.
After you enter this the first time it will trigger another email for you to go find in your inbox that will look like this:

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Click through that link to change your password. This password IS case sensitive. Make sure you make it something you will remember. We suggest at least one capital letter and one number.

Step 6.

Using your FULL email address as your Username and the new password you have just created, you will log-in to the system and be brought to this page:

consignorlogin 6

 

That's how you log-in to Consignor Log-in for the first time! There will be another blog post about all the features and what they mean soon. I will link that here when I'm finished!

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

The Ride of a Life

 

 

My first thought: good thing he was wearing his helmet. Robbie, my six-year-old, and I were taking a bike ride last weekend in one of the state's beautiful parks. Suddenly, his bike slipped off the edge of the paved road. Then, he was down. He hit the rocky ground hard and my heart skipped a beat. bike fall

 

He'd been a trouper all afternoon, pushing the pedals with all his might climbing the steep hills and braking ever so gently to stay in control on the descent. Now, seeing the panic in his face as he stared at his scraped palms, I jumped off my bike and lifted his chin to look at me.

 

"Robbie," I said gently, "there's gonna be blood, but you're okay."

 

For a six-year-old, blood is scary. Blood requires Mom, Sponge Bob bandages, and chocolate milk. At least, that's the remedy in our house. But we were miles from home deep in the woods. No Mom, no Sponge Bob and a long bike ride back to the car.

 

Don't look at the scrapes, I advised him. Pull down your sleeves. Hop back on the bike. Robbie listened and nodded, his face serious. He grimaced, tugged his sleeves over the newly raw skin, then jumped back on his bicycle.

  

As we rode back to the car, I could tell his mind was already shifting from his tumble to the sheer joy of his first long bike ride with Dad. Robbie accomplished a lot that day. He learned how to climb hills. He learned how to control his speed. Most importantly, he learned how to overcome a setback.

 

Learning a new skill means making mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes can be pretty bruising. That day, Robbie learned to get up, brush himself off and get back in the game.

 

The best part of that day was the opportunity to appreciate something that had gotten buried in the back of my mind. My son reminded me that it takes grit and determination to learn a new skill. That's a good reminder for kids, adults - and especially for business owners. Looking back, I'd say that was the best bike ride ever.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Deliveries with Extra Sugar Deserve a Tip

 

 

I'm a regular at a coffee shop on the South Shore. I like the coffee and the convenience - but I don't like the attitude at the drive-through window. When I extend my arm for my change, the lady shoots me a hostile look then fumbles around in the cash register at length before flicking a nickel into my palm.

 

258 1Cheap? No. I tip - and I tip well - but I consider it a reward for a job well done. Filling a Styrofoam cup with coffee is a basic service. A surly attitude doesn't win any points from me. I don't tolerate extortion. I expect that nickel back every time - on principle. 

 

Which brings me to the issue of tipping our deliverymen. At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we take good care of our workers. That's why they have all been with us for a long while. They don't have to rely on tips to pay their bills.

 

Still, our delivery guys often get some extraordinary requests from customers. "Can you move my old sofa out to the garage?" "While you're here, would you mind moving a few other pieces of furniture for me? They're heavy!" "Yes, I told the salesperson that I lived on the second floor, but I actually live on the fifth - and there's no elevator." "Can we see how the dresser looks in that corner instead of that one? Hmmmm, let's move it back to this corner. No, that doesn't work, either. Let's try it over here."

 

Our standard fee is based on simple factors like the size of the item and location. But we've learned that hauling furniture in or out of some homes can be an extraordinary challenge. Sometimes, doors have to be removed in order to squeeze a big piece through the jamb. Stairwells can be so narrow that extreme measures must be taken to protect walls, floors and the furniture! 

 

And then there are the folks who find it hard to resist the temptation to re-arrange all the furniture in the house when two moving pros show up at the door.

 

We want happy customers. Our guys are generally willing to assist with a simple task or two. But when you ask them to tackle something above and beyond the basic delivery, well, I think that's when you ought to think about a tip. They don't expect it, but they really do appreciate it. After all, a little more goes into it than snapping a lid on a cup.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!
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